Sarvangasana

How to do Sarvangasana? Check Steps, Precautions & Benefits

Introduction of Sarvangasana

Yogendra Sarvangasana; Shoulder Stand Pose. The word ‘sarvanga’ means entire body. From the final position of asana, it can be deduced that it has a favourable effect on entire body. It is strongly advised to attempt this posture first in parts and then complete the pose only after a few weeks of initial training.

How to do Sarvangasana – Step by Step

Start with Ardha-Sarvangasana.

Ardha-Sarvangasana

Starting position: Lie supine on the mat, feet together and hands resting besides the body. Keep the mind calm, body relaxed and take in a full breath.

Ardha-sarvangasana steps:

  1. Exhaling, draw the feet close to the hips and fold the legs against the thighs.
  2. Gently raise the lower part of the body vertically, with a pull of the abdominal muscles, supported by the hands (fingers under the hips and the thumbs above)
  3. Balance the entire body-weight upon the palms, the elbows, the neck and the back of the head (final position). Complete the above steps in 4 seconds, while exhaling.
  4. Maintain this pose as long as convenient, but not longer than two minutes, breathe normally slow, rhythmic and natural.
  5. Return to starting position: Gently lower the hips towards the mat, supported by the hands in 4 seconds, while inhaling.
  6. Release the hands from the back and assume the starting position.
  7. Take a few deep breaths and then rest a while, breath normally.

 

Sarvangasana:

Starting position: Same as explained above.

Sarvangasana steps:

  1. Exhaling, raise high the legs together enough to make a right angle with the body. Keep the knees straight and the body above the hip-joint on the ground undisturbed.
  2. At this stage, still exhaling, raise the arms and hold the waist and push the body up as far as possible. Put all the body weight on the arms and rest on the elbows, with the legs thrown upwards.
  3. When this position is firmly secured, by careful manipulation, make an attempt to shift the hands slowly towards the waist, with the fingers extended to the back of the hip-bones and the thumbs pressed lightly on both sides of the navel.
  4. Set the chin in the jugular notch and place the full weight upon the shoulders, the neck and the back of the head (final position). Complete the above steps in 4 seconds, while exhaling.
  5. Maintain this pose as long as convenient, but not longer than two minutes, breathe normally slow, rhythmic and natural.
  6. Return to starting position: slowly bend the knees and then gently lower the hips towards the mat, supported by the hands in 4 seconds, while inhaling.
  7. Release the hands from the back and assume the starting position.
  8. Take a few deep breaths and then rest a while, breath normally.

 

Recommended practice for Sarvangasana:

  1. Practice once, for not more than 2 minutes.
  2. Do not repeat; nor practise it beyond the limit of time specified above because a longer duration, if it is to be practised along with other daily Yoga physical exercise, may, in some cases, prove injurious.
  3. Until perfect balance is secured, one may take the aid of any object against which to fall back. In the beginning, improvise this pose by resting against a wall or any solid object while in the head-low position. The aid of a few pillows or personal assistance from another person should be acceptable during the initial practice.

 

Precautions to be taken during performance of Sarangasana:

  1. For all head-low postures, great care should be taken to avoid any possible strain or jerks.
  2. The period of exercise should be fixed at a minimum, i.e. 20 seconds in the beginning to 5 minutes at the most.
  3. It is also advisable to attempt this posture first in parts, and complete the pose only after a few weeks of initial training.
  4. Any head-low pose should never be attempted after any form of rigorous gymnastics because the abnormal rush of blood to the brain at this stage might do more harm than good.
  5. Unguided and hurried attempt to perform asana may lead to undue pressure upon the heart, the respiratory organs and the brain, thus, causing giddiness or feeling of discomfort and enlargement of the calibre of the blood vessels in the head.

Limitations/Contraindications: Hyper tension, heart ailments, pregnancy, respiratory disorders, high myopia, glaucoma and retinal detachment.

Benefits of Sarvangasana:

  1. Favourable changes in vasomotor ability (causing or relating to the constriction or dilatation of blood vessels) due to the increased interchange of blood in the upper part of the body, especially the thorax, the neck and the head.
  2. Temporary replacement of the abdominal and pelvic viscera.
  3. Relief in the case of constipation, indigestion, headache, giddiness, neurasthenia, functional disorders of the eye, the ear, the nose and the throat as well as general and sexual debility.
  4. Wholesome effects of gravity-pressure on the various organs of the body above the waist including the vital endocrine glands.
  5. Relief in the case of constipation, indigestion, headache, giddiness, neurasthenia.
  6. Functional disorders of the eye, the ear, the nose and the throat and general and sexual debility.
  7. Very effective for increase of blood flow towards brain.
  8. Balances the circulatory, respiratory, digestive, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems, boosting the immune system.
  9. Flexibility of cervical spine is improved– favourable effect on the nerves.
  10. Sagging of the lower abdomen is improved by toning the muscles; also helps prevent hernia
  11. Releases the normal gravitational pressure from the anal muscles, relieving haemorrhoids
  12. Makes mind alert contributing to self-confidence and self-reliance.

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